Photos: Nostell Priory in January

We had a free day recently, and an urge to get out of the house before returning to work for the Spring term. So, we found ourselves at the National Trust’s Nostell Priory once more.

I adore winter time for taking photos – particularly bright and clear days like the one we had on Sunday; there is nothing like an utterly cloudless sky to accentuate the starkness of the bare trees or reflect into a still, frozen lake.



31: When will we beat cancer?

I’m ever more convinced that we may not find a cure for cancer, but it continues to take lives. We are a mere month into 2016 and so far it seems that almost every day, another celebrity is taken from us because of the disease.

Terry Wogan, a veteran broadcaster and known for his close links with the charity Children In Need, passed today from the disease.

Everyone who has spoken about him today has stated how lovely he was and his warmth and effortless presenting nature, really made you care about all he did.

The thing is though, cancer affects everyone.

A quick search of the wikipedia page Deaths in 2016, reveals that 63 people on that list so far suffered from some form of cancer.

Celebrities aren’t the only ones who have been taken from this world by it. Around 450 people lose their battle to it each day (using 2012 statistics). Those families are in my thoughts as well as Terry’s this evening.

Terry Wogan

“Take it easy, life’s short enough as it is wihout rushing it.”


January 2015: When Things Happened

So… this blogging thing. Let’s do some!

I’ve decided that, if I can’t make or find time to blog every day, I can at least make an effort to do one a month. I may just do something like this – which is a round up of things I’ve done in January – or might try to do something different each time. I have no idea yet!

All of these photos have been placed on Facebook already, but I wanted to go into a little more detail about them here. I could have used higher quality photos too, but just grabbed the Facebook ones for now.

The month began with blasts of cold air and our only geocache of the month. It was a good one though, one of the largest we’ve ever seen. I can’t go too much into it though as I’m sure the owners of GC5H63J: Silverside would like to keep things a surprise for future finders. The photo below was taken on a crisp Sunday morning and demonstrates just how cold early January was.


The next set of photos comes from an unusual staff meeting about willow weaving. My creations weren’t exactly the neatest or the best, but I am quite proud of them. The pentagonal pyramid serves no purpose whatsoever, but I enjoyed making something a little different and more mathematical than other people!

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Most of January has been spent playing around with my new camera lens the lovely Mrs Pitts bought me for Christmas. It is a much longer lens allowing me to take photos for a greater distance. Captain Satsuma and Kit have been perfect subjects, but I have yet to take it out into the wilds.

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January provided me with my 32nd birthday too. Mrs Pitts continued her tradition of fabulous cakes with one modelled on Captain Satsuma. It was delicious…

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There were cupcakes for Grange Moor band and work colleagues as well.

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Let’s see if February is just as interesting…

Day 59: Two Months In

So, here we are two months down the line from the start of this project. A few things have struck me lately. Firstly, far more people are reading this than I ever would have thought. The data I see shows me that but more telling are conversations I’ve had about the writing on here with people who wouldn’t necessarily know about those things otherwise – their only source of knowledge can be this blog.

Secondly, end of the day blogging has become part of my routine now. I can only really think of a couple of moments when this has felt like a chore. The WordPress app, my work laptop and phone’s general Internet connectivity has meant that an update in bed is very common now.

Thirdly, reflecting upon the days and their end is quite healthy overall, I feel. It allows decluttering to happen – and I’ve certainly needed that over the last few weeks.

Finally, it has meant that sharing the little events in my life. This is not something I tended to do before. My Facebook status is being updated less frequently as I want to save things for here.

I’ve always enjoyed it, but I love blogging again!

Here is Kit enjoying her mousy toy.


Day 31: A McLaren Was Viewed

Today McLaren revealed the car they hope will lead them to their first World Championship since 2008.

The car, looks neat and tidy with quite a few changes from their previous offering. The biggest change comes in drivers though with Lewis Hamilton having left the team that he has grown up with in order to try and ‘do a Schumacher‘ and mould Mercedes around himself. (A risky business – Schumacher struggled from 1996 to 1999, with 2000 being the first of his early 2000s Championship dominations. It’s going to take time Lewis…)

As I was saying, McLaren without a Driver’s Championship since 2008 nor a Constructor’s Championship since, and this is always a shocker, 1998, have not rested on their laurels and taken their car further than most expected. The rules for 2013 are largely the same as last year, so most teams will be producing an evolution of their 2012 car. As well as this, the rules are altering significantly next year as a new engine formula is being introduced. It seems a little bit of a risk to radically alter a car under these circumstances, but McLaren want to win.

Sergio Perez showed flashes of brilliance last year, he could even have won a race. In the second round at Malaysia, he battled with Fernando Alonso. In the dying laps of the race he was able to close the gap to 0.5 seconds, but was not able to make the pass as he went wide at turn 14 and fell back, finishing 2.2 seconds behind Alonso in second.

Jenson Button, on the other hand, says he is ‘excited’ by the new McLaren. I’m sure he would hope to add to his tally of 15 wins. In fact, one more would place him equal with the great Stirling Moss who has the most career wins without becoming World Champion. Button, for me, is one of the best drivers out there and thoroughly deserves to win another Championship. He was a great ambassador for the sport after his 2009 Championship and he is just what the sport needs. A dominant Sebastian Vettel risks mimicking the 2000-2004 era Schumacher, after all.



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Day 7: Back to Work

Today was the first day back at work in 2013. As appears to have become the tradition, it was an INSET or training day. This one was held at a local hotel, as it is an opportunity for the ten schools in our partnership to meet up and work together.

In case you were wondering, this is relatively uncommon. It is more usual for schools to work on their own and develop their staff within their own environment. This can mean a consultant or expert coming in, but it may equally be given to a member of staff to organise based around a specific subject. As ten schools are involved in organising this, it means a spreading of the costs for said consultant, which is great for our budget!

I am not planning on boring you all with details from today, as frankly it wasn’t great. There were many positive moments, and much of what was said I agreed with. However, as much of the advice given is already part of the way I teach, it’s hard to take anything but a feeling of, “Well, I’m doing OK then,” from it. Which is pleasing and gives me a warm glow inside!

The other main feature of the day was considering my class at the moment. Working with them is not always easy, but I really do enjoy my job.

Tomorrow brings the challenge of not being in class for the morning as I am working with some other staff in school. Being the children’s first day back after a long break, and the instant removal of a key part of the structure of their school day – me – is not going to be easy for them. Time will tell how they react.

In other news, we continued our cache a day challenge to try and fill up our calendar grid. This shows when we have cached and how many we have done on each day.

Our cache a day calendar grid.

Our cache a day calendar grid.

As you can see, we have some way to go, but we have filled in 42.3% of it already. That, as you may have noticed, includes February 29th! We don’t need to go and get a cache tomorrow, so that will be a day off. We hope to completely fill January and February by finding one each evening after school.

I promise tomorrow’s blog will not mention geocaching in any way, shape or form.


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JS Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Following on from The Shape Of Song comes this visualisation of JS Bach‘s Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565).

The Toccata and Fugue in D minor is a piece of organ music believed to have been composed by Johann Sebastian Bach sometime between1703 and 1707. It is one of the most famous works in the organ repertoire, and has been used in a variety of popular media ranging from film, to video games, to rock music, and ringtones. The attribution of the piece to Bach has been challenged since the 1980s by a number of scholars.

Whoever composed it, it is one of my favourite pieces of classical music. This is a fabulous way to see the piece being played as you listen.

[Via Wikipedia and Youtube]

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Use Rain Gutters to Wrangle Under-Desk Wires

This is very familiar to me, both at home and at work.


Wires everywhere.

So, what about making it look like this?


After picking up a new desk, Seandavid010 sought out to solve he and his wife’s messy wire problem. He vaguely remembered reading about someone else using rain gutters to win the battle against desk wires and decided to try it himself. After a few trips to his local DIY store totalling $30, he crafted his own wire basin under his desk in around 2 hours.


So what’s all tucked in the gutters? Some power strips, a wireless router, a cable modem, usb cables and the power cords for two Macbooks. And it’s no longer unsightly and now completely out-of-sight.

[Via Lifehacker]

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